'Psychopathic Killers, Threat To Society': Kerala Court Awards Death Sentence To Three For Robbing And Murdering 71-Yr-Old Woman

Update: 2024-05-25 03:00 GMT
Click the Play button to listen to article

A Kerala Court has convicted and sentenced a woman named Rafeeka and two men Al Ameen and Shafeek to death for murdering 71-year-old Santhakumari on January 14, 2022, for committing the robbery of her gold ornaments in Vizhinjam in Thiruvananthapuram District, Additional District and Sessions Judge, Neyyatinkara, A M Basheer found the accused guilty under Sections 120(B) (punishment for...

Your free access to Live Law has expired
Please Subscribe for unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments, Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.

A Kerala Court has convicted and sentenced a woman named Rafeeka and two men Al Ameen and Shafeek to death for murdering 71-year-old Santhakumari on January 14, 2022, for committing the robbery of her gold ornaments in Vizhinjam in Thiruvananthapuram District, 

Additional District and Sessions Judge, Neyyatinkara, A M Basheer found the accused guilty under Sections 120(B) (punishment for criminal conspiracy), 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement), 397(robbery or dacoity with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt), 201(causing disappearance of evidence) and Section 302 (punishment for murder) of the IPC.

Ordering death sentence for the accused under Section 302 of the IPC, the Court held thus:

“The motive of this psychopathic killers is to have wrongful gain and to meet that end they in furtherance of their common intention conspired together to do the illegal act. As argued by the learned Public Prosecutor if the accused is permitted to be a part of the society it would be a threat to the society. Considering the above facts and circumstances , I am of the view that this Court will be failing in the duty if the maximum punishment prescribed under the law is not imposed on the accused. In the circumstances, death sentence alone would be proper and legal. Taking into consideration of all the facts and materials, it is crystal clear that the entire act of accused amounts to a barbaric and inhuman behaviour of the highest order. The manner in which the murder was carried out in the present case is extremely brutal gruesome, diabolical and revolting as to shock the collective conscience of the community.”

As per the prosecution case, 1st accused is the mother of the 3rd accused and the 1st accused and 2nd accused are allegedly in a live-in relationship. All the accused were residing in a rented house near Vizhinjam harbour, Thiruvananthapuram. It is stated that the accused in furtherance of their common intention for committing robbery of gold ornaments confined the victim who was their neighbour into their rented house and strangled her. The first accused then bashed her head with a hammer, resulting in her death. It was stated that the accused hid the body of the victim in the attic of their rented house and were caught by the police while attempting to flee with the gold ornaments.

The Court stated that the accused did not deny their presence at the scene of the occurrence of the crime, their rented house and the fact that they were last seen with the victim. It stated that the crime took place in the secrecy of their rented house and thus a corresponding obligation was cast upon them to give an explanation for the recovery of the victim's body from their rented house.

“I have closely marshalled the circumstantial evidence in the case to arrive at the conclusion that the accused alone is responsible for the death of the deceased. Additionally, it also relied on the fact that the accused having been found present in the house had offered no plausible and cogent explanation about the sequence of events that had transpired inside, leading to the sole and irresistible conclusion that the accused has perpetrated the heinous crime”, stated the Court.

On analyzing the circumstances and other evidence, the Court ruled that the prosecution was able to establish the guilt of the accused persons. The Court held that the guilt of the accused were proved beyond reasonable doubt.

Relying upon Apex Court decisions, the Court stated that recovery of robbed gold ornaments of the victim within 24 hours at the instance of the confession made by the accused is also an important time factor to draw the presumption of guilt under the Evidence Act. It thus concluded that the accused had not only committed murder but also committed robbery of the victim's gold ornaments.

The Court referred to the post-mortem report and photographs of the grievous injuries inflicted upon the victim to state how a victim, an aged hapless woman was killed brutally for the robbery of gold ornaments.

Further, the Court considered various aggravating circumstances before awarding the death penalty to the accused. It found that the accused committed a cold-blooded, well-planned murder for committing robbery without provocation. It further found that the offence was committed on a septuagenarian woman in a thickly populated area creating panic and fear amongst the public at large. It was also stated that the victim trusted the accused persons, despite the warnings given by other neighbours. The Court also found that the accused persons had also targeted two other elderly persons in the same locality.

“I conclude that it is a gravest case of extreme culpability. Accused have no permanent place or abode. They are healthy and young. As per report of the Probation Officer Thiruvananathapuram Dist. accused are not interested to do any job or involve in any avocation. Their close relatives are not having any communication with accused. Accused just wanted to roam around, lead wayward life and commit heinous crimes and to meet that end they will do anything as per report. The police also filed report in the same line. They cannot be reformed The learned prosecutor submitted that they killed a girl aged 14 on 14th (14.1.2021) bashing with a hammer on her head”, stated the Court.

The Court also stated that the case does not involve any mitigating circumstances favouring the accused to not impose the capital punishment.

Accordingly, the Court held that the case falls under the 'rarest of rare' category for awarding the death sentence to all the three accused.

Counsel for Accused: Advocates Sudheesh Kumar, Mahesh

Counsel for Complainant: Additional Public Prosecutor A Ajikumar

Case Title: State of Kerala v Rafeeka & Others

Case Number: SESSIONS CASE No.1885/2022

Click here to read/download the Order

Full View


Similar News